Elizabeth Irwin Spalding bred and sold Cavalier King Charles spaniels from her kennel in Maine to some of Hollywood’s best-known celebrities.

And she devoted most of her adult life to the health, development and future of the breed, which was brought to this country from England in the 1940s.

“Liz was a founding member and president of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club (of the United States),” said her brother, S. Peter Spalding of Raymond.

She was instrumental in helping the breed gain acceptance and flourish in the United States, he said.

Miss Spalding died Saturday at St. Joseph’s Manor in Portland after a seven-year struggle with Parkinson’s disease. The longtime Falmouth resident was 82.

Born and raised in Portland, Miss Spalding graduated at age 16 from Deering High School. She attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she studied classical literature and graduated with high honors in 1949.

During college, she developed an interest in horses. She worked for a while at the Philadelphia Hunt Club, where she exercised horses, and became an avid equestrian.

After graduation, she traveled in Europe on a motorcycle before going to work for the United Nations in Geneva. The U.N. job was well-suited to Miss Spalding, who was fluent in several languages.

She returned to Maine in 1956 and devoted the rest of her life to raising Cavalier King Charles spaniels — an energetic, affectionate toy spaniel breed that is known for being friendly and easy to train.

“She must have raised over 100 dogs over the course of her lifetime,” S. Peter Spalding said.

Her kennel, Kilspindie Kennel, was located on Mountain Road in Falmouth.

“She loved those dogs. It’s a beautiful dog, an intelligent and very loving dog,” her brother said.

Once the word got out that she was raising the dogs, celebrities would come to Falmouth. Miss Spalding always insisted on meeting the buyer because she wanted to make sure the dogs would be well-cared for.

Among her more famous clients were Frank Sinatra, Kirk Douglas, Steven Spielberg and Tony Curtis, her brother said.

Her dogs became known for their wonderful temperament, intelligence and beauty. They also won a number of contests.

Miss Spalding served as a judge at numerous national and international Cavalier dog shows.

She was also devoted to her family.

Through most of her adult life, she lived with and cared for her mother, Kathleen Spalding, who died in 1999, a few months before her 100th birthday.

Miss Spalding’s family said she will be remembered as brilliant and independent, an individual who set her standards high.

The Spalding family suggested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Maine Friends of Animals, 190 U.S. Route 1, Falmouth, 04105.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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